In 7th grade, a new requirement was passed by the state health department: all kids entering middle school had to have their MMR shots renewed and for convenience, a health clinic would come to the school and provide the shots. I remember bringing the note home to mom, while she read it I asked, "Does this mean I have to get a shot?" "Looks like it, she replied." I hadn't set foot in a doctors' office since kindergarten and my memories about that visit weren't so good.
I went with my older brother to our pediatrician's office. He had to get shots to play high school football, I had to get them to enter kindergarten. "Don't worry," he assured me, "it doesn't even hurt. I'll get my shots first and you can watch me, it will be painless." I believed him and eagerly watched as the nurse rubbed his arm with alcohol and placed the needle in his deltoid. He calmly said, "Gee, that doesn't even hurt. In fact, that feels good." But his face did not match his words and he winced as the nurse pushed in the shot stopper. If my tough older brother winced, how could I handle such a thing? I was terrified and at that moment I began to cry. Through many tears, the nurse managed to get the shot done. I left the office with a puffy, sad, face, but luckily, I thought, I'll never had to do that horrifying thing again.
But now I was in 7th grade, and I did have to do it again. I walked up to the nurses station, hands trembling, heart thumping. The stress was really killing me. I pulled up my sleeve and winced prematurely. The nurse grabbed my wrist, "We can't give you a shot if you don't relax." My friends were in line behind me, everyone was watching, they all knew my fear. So I suck it up and got the shot. It wasn't all that bad.
So when I got the flu shot for this season, I told myself it wouldn't be all that bad. I told myself it wouldn't even hurt. Heck, it might even feel good to know I was lessening the risks of getting the flu this season. I pulled up my sleeve and winced as the nurse pushed in the shot stopper. The nurse didn't even have to tell me to relax.